Finland will have to leave Olkiluoto 3’s new EPR for a large part of the winter

Finland, which two months in the past thought it might get via the winter with out power issues thanks to EPR Olkiluto3’s storage coming into service, finds itself in a delicate scenario after the nuclear reactor suffered a new fault in mid-October. Although no timetable has but been introduced for a potential change to the common commissioning scheduled for December, which will not begin, earlier than the finish of January, the Finnish operator TVO introduced that the investigation of the harm to the water provide pump at Olkiluoto 3 “will proceed for a number of extra weeks”. A shock for the Finnish state which will subsequently have to do with out its EPR for all or part of the winter (which has already began in Finland), figuring out that it’s not immune to a new change. As a reminder, common manufacturing was supposed to start this summer season, however was suspended in December after “overseas materials” was noticed in the turbine’s steam burner.

Shutting off Russian electrical energy provide

The blow to Finland is even more durable as a result of the Scandinavian nation was relying on its new EPR, Europe’s strongest with 1,600 megawatts of capability, to compensate for the cutoff of Russian energy provides imposed by Moscow after Finland’s candidacy was introduced. NATO in May. These account for about 900 MW, or 10% of Finnish consumption. To make up for this shortfall, the Finnish state has already had to function reserve oil-fired energy stations final month. Sweden might provide it with up to 2,400 MW, however hardly ever as a result of it itself faces the threat of shortages and depends on common oil-fired energy stations.

This new occasion comes as the reactor reached its full capability on September 30 for the first time since its development was introduced in 2003. At the time, it alone produced about 20% of the electrical energy utilized in Finland (the two current Olkiluto 1 and a couple of reactors including 40%). Beginning in October, Olkiluto 3 had about ten full-power assessments, throughout which the reactor would periodically shut down manufacturing for a number of days and even weeks.

Almost 13 years of setbacks

This new drawback provides to the lengthy checklist of frustrations confronted by this reactor constructed by the Franco-German consortium Areva-Siemens. It began 12 years late final March and a lengthy collection of failures and setbacks partly defined Areva’s heavy restructuring. By early 2006, three years after the begin of development was introduced, delays in the development of the essential cooling pipes had already delayed the start-up of the reactor till 2010-2011. Finnish nuclear security company STUK then requested lots of of enhancements in 2009 due to “development points”, sparking a battle between the future reactor’s operator, Finnish TVO, and Areva-Siemens, with criticism from a Finnish policeman. After a number of years of litigation and extra delays, Areva lastly settled its dispute with TVO in November 2018, paying €450 million in damages.

Despite these failures, assist for civilian nuclear energy has grown in recent times in Finland, spurred by local weather considerations and world power tensions. According to a ballot printed in May, 60% of Finns at the moment are in favor of it, a report. Since the cancellation of Finnish Fenovoima and Russian Rosatom’s Hanhikivi 1 nuclear undertaking in May, no new nuclear reactor tasks exterior of OL3 have been commissioned.

The frustration of EPR

Launched in 1992 as the pinnacle of French nuclear know-how, the European Pressurized Reactor (EPR) was designed to revive nuclear energy in Europe after the 1986 Chernobyl catastrophe. The new mannequin gives each larger energy and improved security. , however its development precipitated complications, and never solely in Finland. In France, development of the Flamanville EPR, which started in 2007, was additionally affected by intensive delays, significantly due to inconsistencies in the metal cowl and reactor vessel. EPR has additionally been chosen for a two-reactor energy station at Hinckley Point in southwest England, the place the web site is affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Power technology is deliberate for mid-2027 as an alternative of 2025 initially. In China, two EPRs have been commissioned in 2019 at the Taishan Power Plant in the southeast of the nation. One of the reactors, shut down for a yr due to sealing issues, resumed manufacturing in August.